23 November 2017
By Ikenna Amadi
A Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, has been signed by the Federal Government through the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, Col. Hameed Ali, (Rtd) with his Turkish counterpart in a bid to stop the importation of arms, ammunition and other illicit cargoes.
Col. Ali made the disclosure while speaking to newsmen at a stakeholders meeting held at Nigerian Shippers Council, Apapa, Lagos.
Parties involved in the deals (allegedly)
Col. Ali accused shipping firms, particularly, foreign lines, operating in the country of aiding and abetting illegal arms importation, saying that the illegal importation of arms and ammunition was a big problem facing the customs service.
Who is affected…
He affirmed that the trend has not only become a source of concern to the Customs, but also a huge security risk to neighbouring countries.
The mutual agreement between both countries is such that all import emanating from Turkey would be transmitted to the Nigeria Customs before the arrival of the cargoes, he said.
Nigeria, according Col. Ali, has since made available the list of prohibited items to its Turkish. “The issue of being ignorant of the content of the container will no more be acceptable,” said the Custom boss.
He added: “Carrying out examination on unpalletized cargoes is always a problem as palletization of containerized cargoes makes cargo examination easy and faster.
“We looked at issues affecting the maritime industry especially with regards to shipment of arms and that was why we invited the shipping lines and other stakeholders.
“We have sat down, we have listened, we have resolved with stakeholders that we will work together and they have given us their commitment.
“There were issues that were raised when I spoke at the opening of the meeting which brought issues like manifest and midstream transfer to the fore and the shipping companies have given suggestion on how best we can approach these issues.”